1. Bad selection of Presidential candidates
Jill acted very undemocratically as the party’s presumptive nominee, built her campaign on promises she couldn’t deliver on, served to green wash the electoral system, and has emulated classic power tripping politicians. To be honest, I could barely stand to listen to her talk at all this season. She just sounded so cheezy and fake and salesperson like, everything I can’t stand about politics today.
The only time I really sucked it up and listened to her this cycle for a sustained period of time was her “extend the debates” sections on Democracy Now, which was only because it was the only radio station with good reception while I was driving during a long road trip. Apparently only one out of a 200 people of voting age in the U.S. finds themselves inspired by Jill’s bullshit enough to vote for her (Jill got 1% of the vote with roughly 50% of the population voting). I couldn’t believe she thought it was a good idea to just talk about what she would have said, in a conversation that doesn’t include her, on policy she will never affect. No wonder Gary Johnson turned that slot down, and I like Mimi Soltysik’s attitude to the debates of: “Fuck that!”
I’ve heard the argument that there weren’t any other good candidates for the GP nomination, but like with Donald Trump being the president we deserve, I guess the Greens also got the candidates they deserved. Did the Green Party really embrace an attitude of lesser evilism with settling on Jill Stein as their candidate? Look to my other article on how to improve the Green Party to see how to recruit better candidates, or the article by new progressive alliance on how to run effective campaigns.
2. The Power Establishment Dictated the Green Partys Goals and Methods
What if Jill made sure her campaign was structured to really show case material victories. She could bring the spotlight to local candidates, or devote her campaign resources towards solving some problems for a community, preferably her local community, but even getting new pipes in Flint Michigan or stopping the Dakota Access Pipe Line. Instead her campaign has flown around to the front lines of different communities efforts and fights for life and treated them like press opportunities.
Jill’s campaign was centered around a dreamy and unachievable 5% of the vote and trickle down power to the rest of the party. People should be ecstatic that she more than quadrupled the Green Party turn out in the polls, but instead their is a huge air of despair. Jill even focused her campaign on pandering directly to the power establishment offering the Green Party nomination to a Democrat candidate. This has led to a wave of statists, centrists, and reformists becoming the vocal majority of the party, pushing long time more radical and anarchist leaning Greens aside.
The Green Party right now is poised to drag people in masses into the most boring and koolaid filled versions of politics out there. Affecting power relationships can be so fulfilling and fruitful, but right now, not through working in unity with the Green Party. This is why I have become so critical. I don’t want to live a very boring version of electoral politics dictated by the power establishment well built for maintaining genocide and slavery. Through my work with the Green Party I had some crazy experiences but ultimately it was a giant load of monotonous soulless rut of busy work, swimming in a tidal wave of people trying to get me to act like something I was not, and many hard to identify agendas pulling my energies into work to satiate somebody else’s ego driven goals dependent on american civil religion.
3. Too Much Showcasing of Professionalized Activism
Most of us cannot afford to live a life like Jill is leading. We need candidates that are role models, not people acting as upper class philanthropic politicians, emulating power playing celebrities, that show up to movements they have had no role in where they offer easy answers that require a certain form of faith in the power establishment.
It could be awesome if every well to do white retiree started following Jill’s role, but it would also be a huge mess. They simply aren’t the people getting fucked by the ruling class right now, and cannot relate to the struggles on the ground. Instead, Jill and her peers have their own struggles, and they need to organize to get their peers to wake the fuck up.
The Green Party has tried to position itself as a party of the people, not the rich older white people, but the people of America cant just be buying plane tickets all the time to show up to the front lines of some glamorous press filled protest. Most other wealthy white people can not do that even: they don’t have the support structure or safety net that Jill does.
Jill and the party need to be transparent about what it takes to organize and stopped fucked up shit. The rhetoric needs to focus on how we are stopping bad things and doing good things. Jill has a great reputation for her long time work with building the green party, but I never see people focusing rhetoric on how to really build a politic movement. Instead I just hear what the democrats and republicans are doing wrong, and am provided over simplified delusional answers coming from a place of paternalism, misguided egos, and a general reformist belief that we can gradually change a system built on war, genocide, the destruction of mother earth, and slavery.
4. Green Values replaced with Hierarchy, Branding, and Propaganda Worship
How could so many greens be o.k. with Jill acting as the presumptive nominee in the Green Party? Then she offered her spot to Bernie Sanders, and even campaigned for him? Talk about absolutely preposterous! That’s not how integrity in party politics work, you aren’t supposed to turn your back on long time supporters to pander to an opposition party not in tune with your values.
Then she goes on to get people sold on solutions built on trickle down power from a place of hierarchy and professionalized political branding.
When I think of a successful and moving presidential campaign, I imagine a campaign ran democratically, showcasing struggles across the country, broad coalitions of support from working class people, abundant art (street art and posters are the best), and guides on how to organize with your community. Instead we got a dry campaign filled with hype, easy answers, pandering, professionalized politicking, a rhetorical focus on the power establishment, and hierarchy.
Jill’s campaign directly went against the Green Party Ten Key Values of Grass Roots Democracy for acting as the presumptive nominee, the second place green party candidate refused to even show up to the convention because he felt so undervalued and was only offered a 5 minute speaking slot. Non Violence for supporting a politician who has voted for war multiple times, and finally Future Focus and Sustainability by promising the 5% of the vote to people who will burn out of the party while flying everywhere she went for the campaign when their are much greener alternatives for campaigning out there.
I saw this critique on Hilary and her supporters and why they caused her to lose to Trump: “The American white-collar class just spent the year rallying around a super-competent professional (who really wasn’t all that competent) and either insulting or silencing everyone who didn’t accept their assessment. And then they lost. Maybe it’s time to consider whether there’s something about shrill self-righteousness, shouted from a position of high social status, that turns people away.” Seems like this critique also applies to the Green Party.